The New Jersey Department of Human Services has started delivering $272 million in extra food assistance benefits to eligible school children who missed out on their free or reduced-price in-school meals this past year due to remote learning.

The first round of benefits went out this week to 142,000 children whose families are already enrolled in the state's Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program.

Depending on the circumstances, some households may receive multiple payments through the summer, according to the department.

By the end of this week, new electronic benefit cards with the extra food assistance benefits will begin going out to 236,000 children whose families are not enrolled in SNAP. Cards will be mailed through mid-August.

"Throughout the pandemic, these additional food security benefits have been critical for so many children who lost the nutritional support provided by the free and reduced meals program while in school. We will continue to look for all opportunities to provide food assistance to families and children," Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said.

When this round is completed, Human Services will have issued about $437 million in P-EBT benefits during the pandemic.

Recipients can check their Families First account balance by visiting www.NJFamiliesFirst.com or by calling the phone number on the back of their card.

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